QUITO - Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa said that his controversial proposal to ban the slaughter of animals in public spectacles covers bullfights, but not cockfights.
"Cockfights are exempt and will be allowed," Correa told the government-run news agency Andes on Tuesday.
The proposal is among several disparate issues that Ecuadorans will vote on in a May referendum.
"The question ... concerns spectacles in which the goal is to kill the animal. Cockfights are not affected by this problem and will be allowed," Correa told Radio Huancavilca in the western city of Guayaquil.
In late January Correa said that the measure covered both cockfights and bullfights. He clarified -- or further confused, depending on the viewpoint -- that statement.
"Cockfights are not banned, but killing the rooster in a fight is -- which I am told frequently happens, I did not know," he told Andes.
Correa added that the referendum measure would not ban bullfights outright, but forbid bulls from being killed.
A bullfight usually ends with the matador slaying the bull with a sword, and a cockfight usually ends with the death of one of the fighting birds.
Bullfighting and cockfighting aficionados have joined to campaign against the proposal.
The spectacles were introduced in the region by Spanish colonialists in the 16th century.
In the Americas bullfighting is especially popular in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and above all Mexico, which boasts of the world's biggest bullfighting stadium with a capacity of 48,000.
In the referendum, voters will also be asked to weigh in on issues that include a ban on gambling and casinos, reforming the judicial system and banking systems, and a measure that would prevent media companies from owning non-media operations.
Image: ruben i / Flickr